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Claude Ménard and Mary M. Shirley
When New Institutional Economics (NIE) first appeared on the scholarly scene in the early 1970s, it was a transformative movement. NIE aimed to radically alter orthodox economics by showing that institutions are multidimensional and matter in significant ways that can be statistically measured and systematically modeled. In the decades since, thousands of articles and books have pursued this premise and NIE has evolved from an upstart movement to a major influence on researchers in economics, political science, law, management, and sociology. What made New Institutional Economics a radical idea was that it abandoned: [. . .]the standard neoclassical assumptions that individuals have perfect information and unbounded rationality and that transactions are costless and instantaneous. NIE assumes instead that individuals have incomplete information and limited mental capacity and because of this they face uncertainty about unforeseen events and outcomes and incur transaction costs to acquire information. To reduce risk and transaction costs humans create institutions, writing and enforcing constitutions, laws, contracts and regulations – so-called formal institutions – and structuring and inculcating norms of conduct, beliefs and habits of thought and behavior – or informal institutions. (Menard and Shirley, 2005, p. 1)
Ainsley Elbra and Richard Eccleston
Blatant corporate tax avoidance has attracted the ire of politicians, citizens and consumers the world over in recent years. Since the financial crisis of 2008, international taxation has become a mainstream political issue championed by social justice campaigners and the progressive press the world over. Globally, governments and intergovernmental organisations have announced a range of reforms designed to ensure that MNCs pay their ‘fair share’ of tax, while some of the world’s most powerful and profitable firms have been subjected to multibillion-dollar fines.
Ulf Bernitz, Moa Mårtensson, Lars Oxelheim and Thomas Persson
The introductory chapter provides an overview of the great social challenge that the EU currently faces. The editors raise the question of what can be done to bridge the prosperity gap in Europe. First, they briefly describe the background: the social dimension of European cooperation and its historical development. Second, they identify the new social challenges that the Union faces in the wake of the Great Recession, the ongoing refugee crisis, and the Brexit referendum. Third, an analytical point of departure for examining these challenges is presented, consisting of an interdisciplinary approach that pinpoints a number of overarching problems and possibilities associated with the social dimension of European integration. Fourth and finally, the book’s chapters are introduced, and their key policy recommendations are summarized. The chapter concludes with the argument that much of the EU’s future relevance and ability to stay together depends on its capacity to counteract the prosperity gap and reverse the negative trend that emerged during the crisis.
Edited by Ulf Bernitz, Moa Mårtensson, Lars Oxelheim and Thomas Persson
A Critical Assessment of the EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agreement
Chapter 1 presents the main epistemological framework and ontological claims of the book and asserts that regions should be understood primarily as legal regimes. Through the marriage of material power, ideational forces and institutions this book aims to promote an understanding of regions as fundamentally legal regimes. The law generates an assumption of the ‘right’ and ‘just’ way to live, guiding behaviour of institutions and of people through legal codification of norms. Legal philosophers are concerned with the validity of legal norms, their claim to correctness, and to understanding the reasoning and logic of the legal system while sociologically informed analyses of law seek to reveal the practical or empirically valid nature of legal norms in relation to other spheres of action, such as politics and the economy. Using the discourse theory of law, this book proposes that legitimate law is that which is normatively perceived to provide ‘good’ reasons for action. This book aims to demonstrate how legitimate law can emerge from a discursive and participative process of deliberation. It will be argued that the EPAs have created discursive spaces for deliberation albeit the inclusion of non-state actors in that process across the regional groupings has been limited. As such, the extent to which the EPAs constitute legitimate legal regimes in a Habermasian sense is questionable.